WWE Jake Roberts Pick Your Poison
Written by: Tom Hopkins
The Main Character
This is a two-disc set featuring one of the most interesting characters ever to perform in the WWE, Jake Roberts. His battles with his own personal demons are perhaps as famous as any in-ring “feud” he ever had, thanks to his inclusion in Beyond the Mat.
Jake Roberts has been wrestling since the mid 70’s, and this brings us through his whole career.
The Film (1:45:39)
A “Thieves of Dreams” poem starts this off, a poem written by the subject of this documentary. Jake talks about the sordid details of his past, including his father dating his grandmother. His father was professional wrestler and Jake basically saw his father maybe twice a year for a few days. Jake’s grandmother died and he lived with his father, but it didn’t work out. Jake was very candid about his distrust of women and men as a result of his failed relationships. It got worse when Jake’s sister got pregnant as a young girl. She got married at 18 to a 53 year old man. The man’s ex-wife came back and murdered her, though her body was never recovered.
Jake soon got his girlfriend pregnant right out of high school and he married her. Then he got into wrestling. He really wanted to be a wrestler to get the acceptance of his father and be better than him. Jake suffered through some early injuries, but had regular work in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Jake used to use the knee-lift as a finisher, but started using the DDT when he found the move by accident when he tripped and fell in a match.
Jake went to Atlanta to Georgia Championship Wrestling to wrestle and book. He had a good feud with Ronnie Garvin at GCW but things changed quickly when Vince McMahon bought the company. Jake didn’t join WWE right away and regrets that decision now. He eventually worked in Louisiana and quit when Terry Taylor told him he was the #5 babyface. Jake quit and was in the WWE a few months later. With a name like Jake The Snake, it was only natural to have him brandish a snake. During that time, Ricky Steamboat had a komodo dragon in his corner and he feuded with Jake, who had a snake in his corner. IN a SNME match, Jake was asked to DDT Steamboat on the cement floor. Jake didn’t want to do it at first but Ricky asked him to do it, and got legit knocked out.
Jake would soon get his own interview segment called the Snake Pit. Jake recounts getting hit with the guitar on the snake pit. Jake got injured there and needed medication and he says that was a big point in his drug addiction. Despite this, Jake was always well-respected in the ring and on the stick. Jake never regrets not winning the WWE title. One of Jake’s most memorable feud was with Rick Rude, when his wife was brought in to be part of the storyline. Jake remembers Rude wearing the tights with his wife on it.
Jake turned to partying and drinking during that time, and he did a whole lot of drugs, literally becoming an addict. Jake says his wife couldn’t go to sleep some nights to ensure that Jake didn’t die. Jake’s own kids were scared of him, too. The drugs weren’t the only thing, Jake was very unfaithful, too. We move from that serious point to talk of Jake’s snake. He would actually have to take care of the thing on tours and bring it with him to hotel rooms.
One of Jake’s biggest feuds was with Andre the Giant, who was deathly afraid of snakes. Another big man who was afraid of snakes was Earthquake. Earthquake did something about it though, he squashed the damn snake. From there he worked a program with Ultimate Warrior, and Jake couldn’t believe he had to ask Warrior’s permission for the run. Warrior messed it all up by getting fired. Jake then went on to feud with Macho Man, crashing his wedding reception and having Savage bitten by a snake. Jake ended up leaving the WWE when he didn’t get the book. He had an offer in WCW and he told Vince that either he got his release or he wouldn’t wrestle Undertaker at Wrestlemania. He is ashamed of that now, but he did get his release. Of course, instead of making the 3 million he was promised, he made only $200,000. Jake ended up retiring from WCW and wrestling.
Jake would return in 1996 at the Royal Rumble, slightly out of shape, but having found religion. Perhaps Jake’s biggest contribution this second time around with the WWE was putting over Austin at the King of The Ring, and Austin spawning his Austin 3:16 quote. Jake takes a lot of credit for creating Austin. They don’t spend too long on Austin but quickly move to the Lawler feud. Jake thought the feud got a little too personal, though. Lawler didn’t realize how much it affected him.
Jake fell off the stool and got back into the drugs and drinking and lost his job and even worse his family. They do talk about the Jake Roberts portion of Beyond the Mat, though Jake says it was a distorted view of his life and that he was lied to. Jake went to ECW in 1997 for about 30 seconds, then moved to the UK to clean up his life, though he claims he was set up there as well and had his snake taken away. Jake was not heard of for quite awhile after that until reappearing on WWE television in 2005. Everyone talks about Jake and his legacy to conclude the program.
This was a surprisingly candid look at the career of Jake the Snake. I think they pretty covered all the bases here, from his rise in the WWE, to his rough life growing up and to his addictions and personal demons. Jake was very introspective here and didn’t try to sugarcoat anything. They mentioned Beyond the Mat, though I don’t know if its portrayal of Jake was as inaccurate as they claim. His Heroes of Wrestling debacle was never mentioned either, but that was probably a rights thing more than anything else. This was just a very honest production from the one man in wrestling who perhaps personifies “personal demons,” more than anyone else who has worked in the business.
1) Jake The Snake Roberts vs. Ricky Steamboat (13:23)
This Snake Pit match (no DQ) took place at the Big Event, held on 08/28/86. Jake gets an in-ring introduction. Jake pearl harbors Ricky on the way in, but Ricky comes back with a backdrop and Jake bails. Jake comes in and is chopped down for two. Ricky starts working the arm. Jake breaks the hold and draws Steamboat outside, where he slams him on the mat and works him over. Jake goes for the chair but Ricky is the one who is able to use it. Jake is thrown back into the ring where Ricky connects with a knife-edge chop to the head off the top rope for two. Ricky chops away at Jake but Jake reverses an Irish whip and Ricky is sent hurtling over the turnbuckles to the outside. Jake slithers out and slingshots Steamboat into the ringpost. Jake punches at Ricky inside the ring and tries for the DDT but Ricky ducks out of it. Jake slugs Steamboat down and sits on top of him for an arrogant pin, but Steamboat rolls him up in a modified sunset flip for the pinfall and the victory at 10:18. I thought this was a really entertaining match. ***1/2.
2) Jake the Snake Roberts vs. Honky Tonk Man
This is from the biggest PPV ever, Wrestlemania III, held on 03/29/87. They show both Jake’s and Honky’s pre-match promos. Jake pearl harbors Honky and slugs him to the outside. They brawl outside, well punch each other outside. Jake rolls him back in but a blind charge hits the knees of HTM. Honky pounds away on the Snake, but Jake comes back with some of his own. Jake with a short-arm clothesline and he tries for a DDT but HTM bails, which is a smart move. Jake follows but ends up getting sent into the ringpost. Jake makes it to the apron but is kneed right off. Back inside and Honky slams Jake, then hits a fistdrop from the second rope. HTM misses the Shake, Rattle and Roll, but Jake backdrops him off. Honky sends Jake to the corner but takes an atomic drop instead. Jake fights back and HTM begs off. Back drop for Jake, and he says it is DDT time. He tries for it but Jimmy Hart interferes, leading to a roll-up by Honky, who uses the ropes for leverage and picks up the win at 7:18. This was what it was, I guess. *1/2. HTM and Hart get attacked by Roberts and Alice at the end of the match. Jim Ross and Jake Roberts recorded alternate commentary for this match, and there’s not much going on here.
3) Jake the Snake Roberts vs. Ravishing Rick Rude (18:09)
This was a Rude Awakening vs. DDT Match, held at MSG on 10/24/88. Jake has Cheryl in his corner. Rude turns his back and Jake pearl harbors him and goes right after the arm. Rude comes back with a rake to the eyes but Jake returns the favor, Jake gets wrapped up in the ropes which allows Rude to go out and proposition Jake’s wife. Jake chases Rude around the ring but walks into an atomic drop. Rude works over the neck of Roberts, utilizing the headlock. Jake reverses an Irish whip to the corner but a blind charge hits the knees of Rude. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening but Roberts bites out of it. Rude gets his shoulder slammed into the ringpost which puts Roberts in control, working his shoulder in the ring. Knee lift for Roberts and he calls for the DDT. Roberts goes for it but Rude gets the ropes to break the hold. Rude tries to bail, gets pulled back in (complete with obligatory ass-shot) and walks into a short arm clothesline. Jake tries for the DDT again but Rude shoves him off to the corner. Jake tries for the knee lift but Rude ducks out of the way and sweeps the leg. Rude heads upstairs and hits a fistdrop. Rude taunts Cheryl and goes for the Rude Awakening, but Jake flips out of it and DDT’s Rude for the pinfall at 12:25. Rude gets the snake treatment for good measure. Decent match. **.
The next chapters fall under the Snake Bites category, just things filmed but not used in the main program.
4) Jake’s relationship with children (2:02)
Jake doesn’t like grown-ups, but always had a soft spot in his heart for kids.
5) How he became “The Snake” (0:32)
Jake says he got the name from the football player who was named the snake.
6) Working with Dynamite Kid (1:21)
Jake wanted desperately to bring Dynamite to his promotion but the head guy didn’t want him.
7) Legion of Doom (3:45)
Jake loved Hawk and Animal. Hawk and Jake got along great. Jake talks about the original Legion of Doom team, including Jake Roberts and recounts a story where King Kong Bundy was to join. Ellering kept calling Bundy fat on air, when he thought the show had ended, and it resulted in Bundy being turned babyface.
8) “Steamboat saved my life…” (2:23)
Jake talks about how Steamboat saved his life one night in Minneapolis. It dealt with his snake one night choking him out and Steamboat saving him.
9) Meeting Dick Ebersol (5:13)
Dick was president of NBC sports. Jake pissed him off, not knowing who he was. Someone had given Jake a script at SNME, and he said it was just hokey crap. Of course, he told that to Dick Ebersol. Dick asked if he had any better suggestions and suggested being in the shower, which is what aired.
10) “Snake” on the loose… (1:27)
Ricky Steamboat talks about the snake being thrown into the shower after the match. One time, the snake burst out of the shower and everyone scattered.
11) Grizzly Smith (2:01)
Grizzly is Jake’s dad and Vince talks about his father’s reputation. Okerlund talks about him not being a great father. He was well-respected by most.
12) Hogan/Jake Feud (1:48)
Hogan talks about the brief feud they had in 1986. Jake says it was because he was more over than Hogan, and thus the feud was squashed.
1) Jake Roberts & Ricky Steamboat vs. Jim Nelson & Mike Miller (6:16) This is an old one from Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, which aired 09/09/81. Steamboat and Miller start off, with Steamboat working the arm, causing Nelson to tag in. Steamboat hits a dropkick and an armdrag leads to an armbar and a tag to Jake. Jake bodyslams Nelson then tags him with a knee lift. Nelson tags out to Miller so Jake brings in Steamboat, and the two start working the leg of Miller. Miller fights back and clubs on Steamboat, and Ricky is double-teamed in the corner. Ricky comes back and Jake comes in with some punches of his own. Bodyslam for Roberts, who tags in Steamboat. Steamboat dropkicks Miller, Nelson is tagged in, and Roberts connects with a kneelift and a belly to back suplex finishes things at 5:46. Decent TV match. **.
2) Jake Roberts vs. Ronnie Garvin (12:40)
This is for the World Television Championship, which Jake held, and it aired on Georgia Championship Wrestling on 12/03/83. This is a rematch from last week’s draw and Jake takes control right away with a side headlock takeover. Jake and Ronnie battle over a lock-up, Jake breaks cleanly but gets punched in the face and Garvin covers for two. Jake bails to the outside to manager Paul Ellering. Garvin works a front chinlock, for quite awhile, and Jake can’t manage to break the hold. Jake does manage to free himself but gets knocked over and Garvin hits a kneedrop. He covers but Jake makes the ropes. We cut for a commercial break and we return with Jake in control now, putting Garvin in a surfboard type maneuver. Bodyslam and kneedrop get an impressive one count for Jake. Jake punches down Garvin and kicks him to the outside, then checks the time remaining on the 15-minute time limit. Garvin makes it back to the apron and sends Roberts headfirst into the turnbuckle, then follows with a crossbody off the top rope for two. Roberts rolls outside to regroup. Jake does make it back onto the ring, only to get bodyslammed and kneedropped. Garvin covers but Jake makes the ropes and rolls outside again. He comes back in and slugs down Garvin. Garvin responds with rights of his own, then the classic back scrape. Schoolboy gets two. Small package follows but Roberts foot makes the rope. Garvin misses an elbow drop, which allows an atomic drop for two. Garvin is up first though, and slugs away and covers, but the time limit expires at 11:21. I guess they had 3+ minutes of commercials during that break? This was a good match, very intense and performed well, but was too punchy-kicky for my liking. **.
3) Jake Roberts vs. “Leaping” Lanny Poffo (9:27)
This is from an MSG show held on 03/16/86. Was this Jake’s debut? If it was, how funny would it be if it was on 3/16, considering Austin’s catchphrase that came out due to beating Jake. Poffo throws frisbees out to the crowd (really) then recites a poem for Jake, which confirms that this is Jake’s first appearance, at least at MSG. Poffo is knocked down but kips up, and is knocked down again. Poffo dropkicks Jake, who slithers out of the ring. Jake comes back and starts working the arm, but Poffo flips out of it and armdrags Roberts down. Poffo leaps at Jake, getting a bodypress for two. Jake keeps going for the bag he has at ringside, but Lanny keeps preventing him from doing that. Roberts comes back with a chop to the guts, then a gutbuster, and a couple of knees to the midsection. Roberts works a side headlock which Poffo bridges out of, only to get taken down again when Roberts pulls the hair. Poffo rolls out of that into a hammerlock, then kicks Roberts as he tries for a back drop. Poffo slugs away, back drops the Snake (who head outside) then tries for a springboard splash from the top to Roberts. Unfortunately, Poffo trips and takes a nasty spill to the outside. He brings Roberts in to slug him down but Roberts chucks Poffo hard to the outside, then hiptosses him onto the hard floor. Poffo makes his way back to the ring but walks right into a DDT. Poffo’s just about dead right now, making the pin elementary at 6:48. Jake pulls a snake out of his bag and drapes it on Poffo. This was a very interesting match for 1986, including the high-flying of Poffo. His blown spot was pretty obvious, but psychologically everything fit in here. **1/2.
4) Jake Roberts vs. Earthquake (9:27)
This comes to us from Superstars 04/27/91. I’m just saying, I don’t expect great things from this match. Jake gets pearl harbored as he gets to the ring but a high knee sends Earthquake reeling and Jake unleashes Damien, which causes everyone to bail. Earthquake heads to the back but a referee comes and tells him he must wrestle. Jake puts the snake back into the bag but the refs say he must put the snake under the ring, which he does. Jake is distracted by Earthquake’s manager, Jimmy Hart, allowing Earthquake to attack from behind. Earthquake brings in the bag with the snake into the ring, then wraps up Jake in the ropes. Hart makes sure the referee doesn’t interfere, then does his Earthquake splash onto the bag that supposedly holds Damien. They don’t show the actual splash, because of how terrible it is. Earthquake does it again, and Roberts is going ballistic as he’s tied up. I know this was featured on WrestleCrap, but it wasn’t all that bad in its execution. No match, though.
5) Jake attacks Macho Man (8:27)
This is a post-match event that took place on Superstars, 11/23/91. This is the match when Jake used the Cobra on Savage. Jake actually wrestles a jobber here, who is never named, and beats him pretty handily (45 seconds) then calls for the still retired Randy Savage, who is doing commentary. Savage ends up getting bitten by a Cobra, Elizabeth runs out (complete with poorly overdubbed Piper and Elizabeth vocals).
6) Jake Roberts vs. Sting (11:54)
This is a Coal Miner’s Glove Match held at Halloween Havoc (held on 10/25/92). This is an unsanctioned match, FYI. No introductions are shown, we just start with them in the ring. Jake goes for the glove right away but is slammed down by Sting. Sting goes for the glove now but Jake pulls him down. Sting misses a dropkick, allowing Jake to take over, but Sting quickly recovers and rams Robert’s shoulder into steel ringpost outside. Sting makes his way to the top of the pole, which is impossibly high, but Roberts comes back with a belly to back suplex, which hurts his shoulder just as much as any damage it did to Sting. Sting goes back to work on the shoulder, wisely enough. Sting and Jake work a very odd psychological match, with them literally exchanging two or three offensive moves each. Jake misses a knee lift, followed by Sting missing a Stinger Splash, then Jake short-arm clotheslines Sting, WITH HIS BAD SHOULDER! Jake calls for the DDT and hits it, but hurts his shoulder on the way down. Jake heads for the pole but Sting pulls him down, then whips around the pole and elbows Jake down. Cactus Jack runs down and gives Jake a snake, as Sting grabs the Coal Miner’s Glove. Jake charges with the snake, but walks into Sting slugging him with the glove. This causes the snake to bite Roberts and enables Sting to get the pinfall at 10:22. This was a mess, complete with terrible ending and a dead crowd. I hope this wasn’t the main event of Havoc. And I just checked. And it did. I feel sorry for people who paid to see this. 1/4*.
7) Jake Roberts vs. Dirty White Boy (14:33)
This is for the Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Championship and held at a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show, held on 05/07/94. Dirty White Boy has a patch over his eye, probably thanks to Roberts. Jake is officially overweight now, with a huge beer belly. They call this a main even anywhere in the country, though I’ll have to disagree a bit with it. Jake pulls the hair down of DWB, then explains to the ref that he was grabbing the shoulder, which I thought was a funny bit. Jake slugs away at the blinded eye of DWB, then turns his back on him. DWB punches Jake back, sending him clear out of the ring. They return, punch some more, until DWB is shoulderblocked to the outside. The samurai who blinded DWB pulls the eye patch off of DWB and he sells the injured eye being blinded by the lights. Knee lift for Jake leads to an arrogant pin, which is reversed to a sunset flip for DWB for two. Atomic Drop for Jake leads to another arrogant pin for two. Jake continues his arrogance, turning his back on DWB, who slugs back at Jake. Big boot for DWB precedes two elbow drops and Roberts makes the apron. A camera man takes a shot of him so Roberts kicks the cameraman and uses the flash of the light to blind DWB. DDT for Jake and Jake lounges a bit before covering for three to end this debacle at 13:39 to gain the title. The only bad thing is that the title won’t fit around the gut of The Snake. This was too much stalling, way too much. ½*.
8) Jake Roberts vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (7:40)
This is the finals of the 1996 King of the Ring, held on 06/23/96. This was a career defining moment for Austin. Jake had injured his ribs earlier in the night and he has them taped up. Austin attacks the ribs of Jake right away and Roberts is in bad shape. Jake tries to fight back but to no avail. Austin destroys him so badly that Gorilla Monsoon comes down to call off the match. Jake says he won’t give up, allowing Jake to try and fight back and call for the DDT. Austin drives him into the corner and destroys Jake some more before a Stunner finishes things at 4:38. This was just Austin destroying Roberts for 4 minutes. To add to the awesomeness, we get the Austin promo that followed this. *.
9) Jake Roberts vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler (13:18)
This debacle took place at the 1996 Summerslam, held on August 18th. Lawler makes fun of Jake, while wearing a Testaverde jersey, then makes fun of Mark Henry who is sitting at ringside. Jake comes out and Lawler teases him some more, which brings out the snake. Lawler is sent a-running. The match starts, but there is some mucho stalling. Jake bodyslams Lawler on the outside, then drives him into the ringpost. Back in the ring and Jake gets tied up in the ropes. Lawler gets one of the bottles of liquor but Jake frees himself and knocks King down. He tries for the DDT but is backdropped out of it. He goes for the DDT again but Lawler pulls the referee in. Lawler uses the bottle of liquor to drive it into the throat of Jake, then covers him (pulls the tights) and gets the pin at 4:08. At least it’s over. Wait, it’s not. Lawler pours liquor into Jake’s face for good measure, drawing Mark Henry in for the save and beginning his horrid WWE career. DUD.
10) ECW Run-in (1:50)
Jake’s run in during a Dreamer/Lawler match took place at Hardcore Heaven 08/17/97. This is like it sounds. Jake rungs in, very overweight, and clotheslines Dreamer down, then DDT’s him, then short-arm clotheslines Lawler. He walks out. Okay.
11) Jake Roberts & Tommy Dreamer vs. Justin Credible & Jack Victory (13:29)
Jake returned to ECW at November 2 Remember, held on 11/01/98. They start with a brawl on the outside, with Dreamer and Roberts controlling things. Roberts backdrops Rotton and then Credible to the outside. A pescado follows for Dreamer and he brings Credible inside. He is distracted by some of Credible’s posse at ringside so he attends to them. Roberts knocks Credible back to the outside where Dreamer can work him over a bit more. Credible comes back and crotches Dreamer onto the steel guardrail. Credible powerslams Dreamer onto the wooden entrance, then slams Dreamer down inside the ring. Credible has one of his posse come in to suplex Dreamer as Credible heads to the top, but DDT shoves off crony #1, Credible is crotched, crony is DDT’d and Credible is suplexed off the top. Justin ends up getting crotched between the ringpost, then caught in a Dreamer Driver. Jake is tagged in, 7 minutes into the match, and we get stereo short-arm clotheslines, followed by stereo DDT’s. Ron Price and One Man Gang run-in however, so those plans will have to way-laid. This leads to New Jack and Kronus running out. This is just a mess. Finally, Dreamer hits a Frog Splash for two, then a Spicoli Driver follows. Chastity low blows the Snake so Dreamer piledrives her. Nicole Bass runs in so Roberts low blows her and DDT’s her. Roberts is low blowed again, this time by Credible. Dreamer brings in a ladder, and tosses rocket launches Credible onto it. A Roberts DDT onto the ladder finishes this mess at 13:06. This was just garbage. DUD.
12) Vince Interviews Jake (3:47)
This took place on TNT, 03/14/86. TNT was a WWE interview show, sort of their version of late night television. Jake comes off as creepy, complete with his snake, Lucifer, and this shows that Jake was a master in the interview department.
13) Ravishing Rick Rude hits on Cheryl Roberts (7:41)
This took place on Superstars 04/23/88. After his matches, Rude would bring a woman into the ring and gyrate in front of her. On this particular night, a woman was called to the ring and didn’t go. She eventually reveals she’s Jake the Snake’s wife, Rude gets slapped but he holds onto the wrist and out runs Jake. A melee ensues and a feud is born.
14) Brother Love Interviews Jake (3:57)
He interviewed him on Wrestling Challenge, 07/23/88. Brother interviews both Jake and Cheryl. Brother calls Cheryl a Jezebel and Jake doesn’t take too kindly to that.
15) Mean Gene Interviews Jake (2:02)
This was also a Wrestling Challenge interview, held on 01/27/90. Jake responds to DiBiase and wants to get him where it hurts, taking the Million Dollar Belt.
16) Promo threatening DiBiase (1:21)
Jake threatened DiBiase with Snakes on this Superstars 03/03/90 promo. Jake just teases DiBiase by keeping Ted’s Million Dollar Belt in the bag with Damien, or other types of snakes.
17) Fights with Brother Love (6:34)
This is from Superstars 10/27/90 and it starts with Brother Love interviewing Rick Martel. Martel wants to give Jake a walking stick. I guess he blinded Jake with his perfume (Arrogance) or something. Jake comes out, blinded, Love makes fun of him, and Jake tries to take a swipe at Love. Love ends up getting DDT’d and his glasses fall off to show his messed up eyes.
18) Interview on the Barber Shop (3:57)
This is from Wrestling Challenge, 05/11/91. Barber is dressed terribly here. Barber asks Roberts about Damien’s despise at the hands of Earthquake. Jake says he got a bigger snake.
19) Ultimate Warrior Casket Vignette (4:13)
This aired on Superstars, 08/03/91. This was on a WrestleCrap collection I had bought awhile back. Jake has Warrior in a casket, preparing him for his match against Undertaker. It was on the collection more for Warrior’s theatrics than anything else.
20) Ultimate Warrior Cemetery Vignette (4:01)
A week later on Superstars (08/10/91), we get this. Jake and the Warrior are in a cemetery, again preparing for Undertaker. This is just too ridiculous.
21) Ultimate Warrior Snake-Filled Room Vignette (4:53)
Still a week later (08/17/91) on Superstars, we get this. Jake brings Warrior to a room filled with snakes. I don’t even have words for this anymore. Warrior gets bitten by a snake. Turns out, Jake was with the Undertaker all along.
22) Mean Gene Interviews Jake (2:38)
This is from Superstars, 03/14/92. This is to promote his Wrestlemania match with Undertaker.
23) The Snake Pit w/Kamala etc (1:55)
This aired on Wrestling Challenge, 09/06/86. The etc. in question includes Wizard and Kimchee. The Wizard looks like Abdullah the Butcher. This was a crazy interview by Wizard.
24) The Snake Pit w/Junkyard Dog (2:14)
This aired on Wrestling Challenge, 10/18/86. Jake calls JYD, “you people,” which may be a little controversial nowadays. I guess this was used to start a feud, but I don’t know if anything came of it. JYD says he’s gonna stay black and die.
25) The Snake Pit w/Hulk Hogan (2:26)
This aired on Wrestling Challenge, 11/22/86. This was to start a program between Jake and Hogan, but Hogan put the kibosh on that. Hogan says it didn’t feel right, but it was really because Jake was getting a pretty big pop. I didn’t hear it, Jake.
This is standard widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1. The earlier WWE stuff is in pretty good shape. The non-WWE tapes are hit or miss. Still, excellent quality considering some of the terrible tapes I had of the original events.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This is in the standard DVD case with an insert for the Cena/Kane movies (The Marine/See No Evil) as well as a fold-open four page Pillman insert with the extras and chapters and all.
D) Easter Eggs
1) Animal/Bundy (0:34)
To get this, go to “Extras” and Highlight “Legion of Doom. Hit right twice and you hear Animal corroborate the story Jake told earlier about Bundy attacking Ellering.
2) Hogan on Jake’s Family Life (1:03)
To access this, head to Extras, highlight “Grizzly Smith” and hit left twice. Hogan talks about flying in with Grizzly Smith in 1979 and Grizzly was crying because this was around the time his daughter died.
3) Jake’s Dad (1:00)
Jake talks about his father working him as a kid, and having him believe his wrestling injuries were real. To get this, go to Chapters and highlight “Growing Up.” Hit left twice.
1) Steamboat/Roberts Promo (1:20)
To access this, go to the extras, highlight the “Steamboat/Roberts vs. Nelson/Miller” match and press left twice. This is a promo given by Steamboat and Roberts on 9/9/81. Steamboat explains where he was the past few months (Japan) and Jake (with hat and short hair) talks about enjoying tagging up with Steamboat.
2) Roberts/Ellering Promo (1:09)
To access this, highlight the “Roberts/Garvin” match from the extras and press right twice. You get to hear Gordon Solie talk about the rematch for the World Television title from Georgia Championship Wrestling which aired on 12/3/83. This led to Jake losing the title, a big moment in GCW.
3) Snake > Earthquake (1:55)
To get this, go to the “Roberts/Earthquake” match on the extras and hit left twice. This is a segment from Superstars 4/6/91, and it followed a Roberts match. Earthquake shows he’s deathly afraid of the snake and pulls Jimmy Hart in front of him to protect him from the snake.
We get the usual WWE commercials to start the collection (WWE On Demand, Home Video, the Ultimate Warrior DVD, the Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 80’s DVD, and the Don’t Try This at Home ad). There’s a couple of ways to look at this. On the one hand, the matches were just terrible. Roberts was never considered one of the better wrestlers ever in his career, relying more on his speaking skills and crazy personality. And you know what, it worked. The promos here were pretty good, and the build-up to angles for the most part were entertaining and actually fun to watch. The main program I thought was excellent, one of the better ones I’ve seen in a while. It was very honest, and wasn’t sugar-coated at all. This is one to definitely pick up on the basis of the strong first disc, and the excellent program. Recommended, but skip the matches on Disc Two.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever